Matt Kibbe responds to Rove, establishment GOP

Last week Karl Rove made his intentions clear: He’s going to bat for who he and the GOP establishment feel can "win" an election. Rove does not put much value into what the candidate's actual ideology is, which is kind of a sticking point for everyone who feels betrayed by the GOP (aka actual conservatives). What does Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks feel about the Rove startup?

Transcript of the interview is below:

GLENN: Freedom Works is a group that has really changed the landscape, and I have to tell ya they have been under attack like nobody's business from the establishment. And the establishment is very powerful and very, very clever, and I am proud to stand with Matt Kibbe and his crew at Freedom Works. And Matt is on the phone with me now. Hi, Matt.

KIBBE: Hey, Glenn, how you doin'?

GLENN: I'm good. I ‑‑ I will tell you that I am ‑‑ I heard last week about Karl Rove and his plan. Basically he announced an attack on you guys, to stop anybody who's stopping these establishment members of congress or the Senate, stop anybody who's trying to take him out. And that's you. I mean, you guys are the ones who have done it. That's the TEA Party.

KIBBE: Yeah, he's specifically talking about some of the candidates who won but also guys like Richard Mourdock who put his foot in his mouth and didn't quite make it. But no, they're going after us, and I think that the measure here as uncomfortable as it is, all of us should be a little bit proud that we have the establishment so freaked out that they've decided to just come after us straight up. That tells me that we are accomplishing something, we're shaking things up. I think it's a paradigm shift and unfortunately none of us, Karl Rove batted zero. We got a few guys over the finish line like Ted Cruz and Jeff Flake.

GLENN: Which is great.

KIBBE: But because there wasn't a clear winner, it's a little bit like gang warfare now. They are trying to take us out and we're trying to defend our position based on the principles you were just talking about.

GLENN: But I will tell you this, man: I think if we play a national game, we lose. But if we play a local game and a state game, we win. I mean, look at the difference in the states. Because people, you know, in the TEA Party, the 9/12 project, Freedom Works, we're playing it at the state and we're winning. Look at the gains that conservatives and free market‑minded people have made in the last four years, all on the state level.

KIBBE: Yeah. And if you think about it, it's very consistent with our principles again. We believe in local. We believe in bottom up. We believe in individual autonomy governing at the local level, not some top‑down dictate from a czar. And that's ‑‑ when you think about our principles, I draw all my strategic influence from the principles. You've got to think locally. You've got to respect the bottom‑up power of citizens in an open‑ended democracy and you've got to let them make the decisions. And that's exactly what the establishment is fighting. But I think, you know, it's not that complicated for us to figure out how to win because it's very much dictated by the values in the Constitution, the values and individualism, that responsibility that each of us have to hold our politics and our government in check so that it doesn't steamroll right over us.

GLENN: I know that the mainstream media wants to seem like there's a war in the GOP, and they've been doing this for a while and trying to make us look like the extremists, but we're just the ones holding fast to the principles. Since when has that become extreme. And they're trying to ‑‑ they're trying to stir this war up, but there really is a war in the ‑‑ there's only going to be one survivor, don't you think? It's either going to be the establishment or it's going to be the grassroots, one of the two.

KIBBE: But they are trying to put the Genie back in the bottle. I don't think that you can control freedom, and with the Internet and with talk radio and the decentralization of information, there's no way that grassroots America's going to sit back down and do as they're told. And I think that's ‑‑ that's the desperation that you see on the other side. They see what's coming and they liked it the way it was. So I do think that they're pushing against a string when they try to stop millions and millions of voices who have power that they didn't have before.

GLENN: That is exactly why the president is issuing his executive order on the Internet tomorrow. He's asking companies to be responsible and just ‑‑ just answer these few things for us as the government and do these things. And I mean, it is the ‑‑ it's the beginning gateway to control of the Internet, I believe. But we'll ‑‑ we'll see his executive order tomorrow.

I said a couple of weeks ago I'm done with the GOP. I think most people are. They've shown themselves to be waste of time and waste of skin really, quite honestly, most ‑‑ most times. When they do ‑‑ when we are strong enough in states and even like Ted Cruz, they spent money against Ted Cruz. They have done this with a lot of Freedom Works and TEA Party candidates. They try everything they can to make sure those guys do not get in. Isn't it time just to say, "I don't really care, and it's time for a third party."

KIBBE: You know, I think it might be. The only hesitation I would have is that there's a lot of legal barriers to a third party. The GOP and the DNC have strategic advantages in the tax law and how campaign finance allows them to do certain things that a third party can't do. But I'm starting to think that it's possible. Because I used to say we had to take over the Republican Party. I'm open to the possibility that, you know, if the GOP doesn't want us, we should go somewhere else.

GLENN: That's right.

KIBBE: But I'm not so convinced that we haven't already taken over the GOP. And if you look at who we've repopulated the Republican Party with purely by accident; we weren't setting out to create more diversity, we weren't setting out to create the GOP stars that would show up on the convention floor in Tampa, but lo and behold who did you see? You saw Ted Cruz. Tim Scott, the only black person in the Senate, TEA Party insurgent from South Carolina. Marco Rubio. You go down the list of all these young stars that the GOP has now embraced as their own. Guess what. They were candidates that the GOP opposed every step of the way.

GLENN: Yeah, but you also have people like John Boehner who is just an abomination to freedom. He is a huge barrier to freedom.

KIBBE: Yeah, I think you'll find establishment guys like that, sort of leftovers from a bygone era in every political party. Politics is not the most beautiful thing in the world and I think if we created a successful party, built a stage that became the new winning majority, all of a sudden everyone would pretend to be us. And I think if you look at John Boehner and Eric Cantor and a lot of the Republicans that are essentially protecting the status quo, at one time or another maybe in their careers, even today they pretend to be us. They talk the talk but they never ‑‑

GLENN: You can see them through them, though. The American people, I'm not really worried about ‑‑ I'm not really worried about cash, quite honestly, because I think the Internet has made people so free and it's ‑‑ I trust somebody, a friend of mine sending me something and saying, "Hey, this guy is really good." I trust that much more than an ad, and look how much Karl Rove spent. I mean, you know, the TV ads and all that stuff, we don't buy that stuff anyway. We want to hear it from our friends. We want to be involved at the grassroots level. We really are doing ‑‑ you know, they accused us of Astroturf. They've got all the Astroturf, and the GOP is part of it as well. They are trying to talk the talk. But the good news is we don't buy it. We don't buy it. And more and more people are saying, "You know what? I used to be a diehard. I gave money. I campaigned. I'm not going to work for them anymore. I'm not going to give my money to them anymore because I don't believe them. I think the GOP has a massive wake‑up call coming their way because they will just find themselves alone with a few old people, you know, with lots of money, and what's that going to get you? That's going to get you lots of ads on TV that nobody will believe.

KIBBE: Yeah, David Dewhurst, I think he outspent Ted Cruz 5 to 1 and, you know, the TV ads don't matter that much anymore. This is ‑‑ again this is why they are so freaked out. Freedom is trending and to go back to the Internet, that is the fight. I think civil liberties and free speech on the Internet is perhaps the most important fight.

GLENN: Yes.

KIBBE: Because that's the vehicle by which people beat the government.

GLENN: All right. So give me one thing that we should watch for on the State of the Union tonight.

KIBBE: Watch him not talk about anything that matters. Literally.

GLENN: I see that every day.

KIBBE: He's going to talk about infrastructure which is code for more spending and more Keynesian expansion of projects that don't matter based on money that we don't have and probably printed and created out of thin air. And he's going to talk ‑‑ the irony is he's going to talk about expanded power for the EPA even though places like Pennsylvania, the energy boom in Pennsylvania, North Dakota perhaps was the source of the few votes that he did get.

GLENN: Yeah, his win.

KIBBE: It's the irony. But he's going to talk about all the wrong things. He's going to go so far left that he's going to create a real problem for his own party because they still have to win in red districts and red states, and that's a huge opportunity for us in 2014.

GLENN: All right. Matt, God bless you. We'll talk to you soon.

KIBBE: Thanks, Glenn.

GLENN: You bet. Matt Kibbe. You know, I don't trust organizations. I trust people. And I've seen Matt Kibbe for a long time behind the scenes, and I trust Matt Kibbe.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.